They say “necessity is the mother of invention.” In Matthew Burwick’s case, the adage holds true.
Buwick’s creative process for developing Bob the Pillow was not enjoyable. Chronic pain coursing through his entire body and exhausting nights spent in poor sleep were the needs that prompted his transformation from consumer to inventor.
Spurring invention from a half-solved problem
When Burwick was six years old, a close neighbor was first to notice his limp. After extensive x-rays and several misdiagnoses, his family learned he had a condition called Legg Perthes disease.
Burwick spent six months in a full-body cast and emerged with a functional hip. Unfortunately, his legs were mismatched by about an inch in height. That minor discrepancy led to years of pounding on the joint.
“First, I felt knee pain,” recalls Burwick. “Heel and foot pain came next. Eventually, the pain spread to my shoulders, neck, and back. I was a 20-something trapped in a 90-year-old’s body.”
Burwick embarked on an orthopedic health journey, including heel lifts, chiropractor visits, low-intensity exercises, and various surgeons. At one point, his chiropractor mentioned the benefits of sleeping with a pillow between his legs.
After research, Burwick bought his first leg pillow. “I was thrilled to see my pain decrease,” he remembers, “but I wasn’t completely satisfied with that pillow. I tried another, then another, but each one fell short in some way from being the solution I needed.”
Turning the quest for a solution into a concrete product
Roughly 20 leg pillows later, Burwick remained convinced a solution was out there, but was unable to find it. A particularly rough week of sleep combined with the global lockdown was the perfect storm that transformed a frustrated consumer into a full-fledged entrepreneur.
“My latest pillow would not stay in place during the night,” Burwick remembers. “I woke up on my stomach at all hours. Every morning, I got out of bed in worse pain than the day before.”
Burwick phoned his friend and future business partner and within hours, the pair was in a garage with furniture foam from a local fabric store and a hot glue gun. The first iterations of Bob the Pillow were laughable, but the goal was clear: make a pillow that would stay in place and keep people on their sides.
“We took pictures, sketched ideas, and found a CAD designer to bring our concept to life,” says Burwick. “Believe it or not, in under four months, we had a 3D-printed prototype for the inside of the pillow and sourced a seamstress in China capable of creating the complicated pillowcase. It wasn’t long before we had working samples.”
Understanding the process of invention
Aside from invention and product creation, innovation entails plowing through a mountain of mundane tasks. Burwick contacted a patent attorney, wrote a formal patent application, created a website, designed a logo, filed for trademarks, reviewed logistics companies, and established working relationships with importers who could ship Bob the Pillow from China to the warehouse. He coordinated all of these tiny tasks during a global pandemic and supply chain crisis.
“All of the jobs like design, legal, taxes, insurance, production, and shipping take an insane amount of time,” Burwick warns. “It’s easy to overlook details you find less exciting, but that is bound to bring trouble down the road.”
The final phase of invention involved spreading the word. Burwick chose to launch slowly and collect feedback as he went. “Strategic conversations with consumers early on gave us time to address customer input and make improvements as we grew,” he says. “Once you know there is a real need for the solution you are bringing to the market, all you have to do is educate yourself and push forward.”
Burwick’s motivation throughout the process of innovation and entrepreneurship sprang from a desire to get his pillow to people with chronic pain and sleepless nights. Today, he is thrilled every time he hears that a customer wakes up feeling better.
“Remember that just because a solution is available doesn’t mean the problem is solved,” Burwick advises. “Your idea may be just the solution for a problem that is only halfway solved. Our greatest joy is speaking to people who benefit from Bob the Pillow. My mission is to put our product into the hands of anyone dealing with long-lasting pain and give them the healing gift of sleep.”
Hardwood Staircase Flooring: Pros, Cons, and Benefits
In the world of home design and aesthetics, stairs play an important but often overlooked role. Unfortunately, many homeowners unknowingly underestimate the untapped potential of stairs as essential design elements. In addition to their practical purpose, stairs can be turned into elements that add elegance and style to a home. Among the various materials used for staircases, hardwood is consistently favoured and versatile. It not only emphasizes visual appeal but also provides practical benefits. In this article, we will take an in-depth look at hardwood flooring on stairs, exploring its many benefits, unique features, and essential factors that deserve close attention.
The Allure of Hardwood: 10 Resounding Reasons to Consider
Before we delve into the particularities that make hardwood a quintessential choice for staircases, it’s significant to preface that every material brings its own set of attributes to the table. However, hardwood stands out as an amalgamation of versatility, enduring grace, and pragmatic efficiency. In the following sections, we dissect the manifold reasons that could make hardwood the pièce de résistance of your home, synthesizing elegance and utility in a singular, memorable way.
1. The Intersection of Aesthetics and Practicality
The material you choose for your staircase isn’t just a matter of function; it’s a declaration of style. Hardwood, with its intrinsic elegance and an array of utilitarian benefits, delivers a package that’s hard to ignore or beat.
2. Refinishing: A Second Life
Think about your staircase as a long-term investment. Over time, the rigours of daily use will manifest in scuffs, dents, and general wear. Hardwood offers an elegant solution—refinishing. This process restores your staircase to its former glory, allowing for a sustainable approach to interior decor.
3. The Majesty of Grain Patterns
Hardwood is not a monolith. The unique grain patterns that distinguish one type of wood from another can add significant nuance to your staircase. They allow for a deeply customized aesthetic that can either complement your existing decor or serve as a contrast to create an entirely new design language within your home.
4. An Investment in Timelessness and Home Value
Hardwood’s timeless appeal is a well-established fact. What’s less discussed is how this quality can translate into a tangible financial benefit. A hardwood staircase can significantly elevate the overall value of your property, making it a wise investment for the future.
5. Maintenance Ease
In the bustle of modern life, who has the time for laborious maintenance routines? Hardwood staircases, with their minimal upkeep requirements, fit comfortably into busy lifestyles. A simple sweep and an occasional mop will keep them shining for yea harbour
6. The Health Dividend
A carpeted staircase might look inviting, but it can be a hotbed for allergens and pathogens. In contrast, the smooth surface of hardwood is less likely to harbour these unwelcome guests, making it a more health-conscious choice, particularly for households with children or those susceptible to allergies.
7. Versatility in Design and Safety
Adding a runner or tread rug can instantly mitigate concerns about noise or slippage on a hardwood staircase. This dual-function approach means that you don’t have to sacrifice aesthetics for safety.
8. Eco-Friendly Credentials
In an age increasingly defined by environmental consciousness, the natural origins of hardwood make it an environmentally friendly choice. While it’s essential to source responsibly to ensure sustainability, the inherent eco-friendly nature of wood offers a win-win situation.
9. Durability Par Excellence
A well-crafted hardwood staircase can withstand years of heavy traffic without losing its aesthetic or functional edge. Its remarkable durability promises not just longevity, but also sustained quality.
10. Weight and Structural Integrity
While often robust and substantial, specific hardwoods like Douglas fir and pine strike an essential balance between strength and weight, making them ideal for complex staircase structures.
Pros and Cons of Hardwood flooring
No decision, especially one as enduring as the choice of material for your staircase, should be made lightly. While hardwood offers a plethora of advantages, it’s not devoid of its own set of quirks and considerations. Whether you’re enamoured by the visual feast that is a hardwood staircase or you’re still straddling the fence of decision-making, a balanced understanding of both its virtues and limitations can illuminate your path. So, let’s unfurl the tapestry of pros and cons to help you make a well-considered choice.
- Easy Maintenance
One of hardwood’s standout features is its minimal maintenance requirement. Unlike carpeting or other soft flooring materials that may require periodic deep cleaning, hardwood only needs occasional dusting or mopping. This ease of maintenance saves both time and long-term cleaning costs.
- Aesthetic Flexibility
Hardwood is like a chameleon in the design world; it can adapt to almost any setting or aesthetic preference. Whether your home leans more towards a rustic charm or modern minimalism, hardwood can be finished and stained to match the mood.
- Health Benefits
For households with allergy concerns, hardwood is a godsend. Its solid, non-porous surface is hostile to dust mites, allergens, and other pathogens that could cause health problems. It’s much easier to clean and sanitize, ensuring a healthier living environment.
- Long-Term Value Addition
A hardwood staircase is not just a design choice; it’s an investment. Homes with hardwood features often have higher resale values. Over time, as other materials age and deteriorate, hardwood retains its timeless allure, thereby adding to the long-term value of your property.
Provided that you’re sourcing from responsible vendors, hardwood is a renewable resource. Its production has a lower carbon footprint compared to other flooring materials like tiles or carpet. Plus, old hardwood can typically be recycled or repurposed, minimizing waste.
It’s not just about how long something lasts, but also about how well it lasts. Hardwood is inherently durable, capable of withstanding heavy foot traffic and the wear and tear of daily life without losing its aesthetic appeal.
- Wide Range of Stylistic Options
Hardwood comes in various species, grains, and finishes, allowing for an enormous range of stylistic options. From the rich, dark hues of walnut to the lighter tones of birch or oak, you can customize your staircase to match your specific aesthetic tastes and needs.
- May Require Safety Adaptations
Hardwood is a beautiful but slippery material, especially when wet. If you have small children or elderly family members, or if you’re just generally concerned about safety, you may need to invest in additional safety features like anti-slip treads or stair runners.
- Initial Cost Can Be High
The upfront cost of installing a hardwood staircase can be higher than other material options like carpet or laminate. This initial expenditure, however, should be weighed against the long-term benefits, both aesthetic and financial, that hardwood offers.
- Specific Household Conditions May Necessitate Extra Considerations
While hardwood is mostly durable, it can be sensitive to fluctuations in temperature and humidity. Homes in particularly dry or humid climates may require humidifiers or dehumidifiers to maintain the wood’s integrity over the long term. Also, if you have pets with claws, be prepared for some inevitable scratching.
Choosing a staircase material is not a decision to be taken lightly; it’s an integral element that functions both practically and aesthetically within your home. Hardwood offers an attractive package of aesthetic versatility, long-term value, minimal maintenance, and health benefits. Consult your local specialists to ensure your hardwood staircase not only captures your aesthetic vision but also endures over time.
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